Fri, 02 Jun 2023

In 1948, the German military lost the deadliest battle of World War II - for a second time.

For the shooting of the epic movie 'The Battle of Stalingrad' (1949), director Vladimir Petrov suggested engaging Wehrmacht soldiers and officers who had been in Soviet captivity. Many of them once actually fought in the city on the Volga in the ranks of the 6th Army of Field Marshal General Friedrich Paulus.

Vladimir Petrov/Mosfilm, 1949

The Germans were dressed up, armed and sent back to "fight" in the streets of Stalingrad. Colonel Wilhelm Adam, Paulus' aide who became a consultant for the movie, recalled the process of filming: "Tanks with German crosses were rolling over the ruins. Flames flew out of the empty window peepholes of the ruins, infantrymen with submachine guns and hand grenades were advancing with a loud 'hurrah'. Prisoner of war German officers and soldiers were specially re-equipped for this purpose."

Vladimir Petrov/Mosfilm, 1949

Thousands of townspeople gathered to watch the unusual spectacle. There were rumors in the crowd that Friedrich Paulus himself had arrived in Stalingrad (this information did not correspond to reality).

Vladimir Petrov/Mosfilm, 1949

The Germans feared reprisals from the locals, but, in the end, everything went quite well. "The shooting probably evoked bitter memories for these people," Adam noted: "However, not a single hostile word was said to the German officers who were present."

Vladimir Petrov/Mosfilm, 1949

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